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trillion. >> this debt crisis still isn't solved, but yesterday the white house said it's working on a plan b. unfortunately, the "b" stands for bake sale, plan "c" is car wash. >> stay with msnbc over the weekend for the latest news on the debt ceiling crisis. you can have the last word online at our blog, "the rachel maddow show" is up next with guest host melissa harris-perry. good evening, melissa. >> hi, lawrence, thanks so much. and thanks for you at home for staying with us tonight. all it took was 24 long hours, but tonight, the top republican in the country, the man who is third in line to the u.s. presidency, finally managed to gather up enough support from his own colleagues to save his speakership. now, just a short time ago by the slimmest of margins, the house of representatives passed house speaker john boehner's
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bill to raise the country's debt ceiling. but raise it with a whole bunch of asterisks. as you'll recall, this was a vote that was supposed to happen last night, but just minutes before it was set to come to the floor, john boehner found himself with an all-out mutiny in his own party, so today as we sit just four days away from cataclysmic default, today was a day spent by representatives in washington, not negotiating to see if a deal could be reached to avert catastrophe, but rather watching and waiting to see if john boehner would be able to keep his job as house speaker or whether it would all fall apart. today was a day of pure, ultimately pointless, political theater. now, mr. boehner was, in the end, able to pass a bill out of his own chamber tonight after 24 hours of arm twisting, but as americans across the country called for a balanced approach to the deficit problem, house republicans passed a bill that
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calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts exclusively. corporations, y'all go ahead and keep all those tax breaks. as the world markets call for a resolution to this self-created crisis, a return to relative stability, house republicans passed a bill that calls for this fight to happen all over again just in time for the holidays, six months from now. now, less than two hours after republicans passed the bill through the house, the one that took them 24 hours to get enough votes for, democrats in the senate voted to kill it, in fact, we're going right now to the senate to see harry reid. here he is. >> senator murray has to be excused because of a family situation. all good, her husband's here.
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tonight a bipartisan majority in the senate rejected the boehner short-term plan clearly. we're seeing something we've seen a lot here in the senate, but this time the country's attention is focussed on it, a filibuster. a filibuster to prevent us from moving forward on this legislation. the proposal i put forward is a compromise. we changed it even more today. we would have changed it more, but as i indicated on the floor, we had no one to negotiate with. the republican leader said he wouldn't negotiate with me. i don't know whose that is. not mine. >> your pizza's ready. [ laughter ] >> it really is the worst possible time to be conducting a
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filibuster. they are forcing us to wait until tomorrow morning, until sunday morning at 1:00 a.m. to have this vote. our economy hangs on the balance, and for the first time in the history of our country, unless there is a compromise or they accept my bill, we're headed for economic disaster. it's time for the republicans to step forward. there's been some movement today. we, as i indicated on the floor, i was supposed to have a meeting in my office this afternoon with some republicans and that fell through, but we're told that the press secretary, as they were walking into a conference, they had three republican senators said they were interested in my bill, interested in compromise. we hear a lot of happy talk about this, but they need to step forward. republicans are blocking their ability to compromise. they are refusing to negotiate with us and all they do is talk, and that is not enough to get it done. the house will hold an up or down vote, we're told, on my
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proposal. we should be allowed to do the same. that's all we're asking. it's time for us to be adults. that's what the american people want. it's time to come together and compromise. it's what the american people want, and that's what we need to do. senator durbin? >> i'm sure you recall the speech that was given to the american people on monday night by speaker boehner. he talked about his bipartisan bill and about the fact he was going to pass it in the house of representatives. we waited for that on tuesday, again on wednesday, then on thursday, and finally today passed it, but it wasn't bipartisan. all republican votes, not a single democratic vote, and a scant majority, 218 out of a 435 member house. when it came to the united states senate, it was dead on arrival on a bipartisan basis. a bipartisan majority of senators, 59, voted it table the boehner proposal. and now we have a chance to
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reopen this conversation. and i can tell you there is a growing sentiment among senators on both sides of the aisle to sit down and reach a reasonable compromise and to save our economy from the disaster that awaits us if we fail to extend this debt ceiling. what these senators on the republican side are waiting for is a permission slip from senator mcconnell. he told them to hold back until boehner had his chance. hold back until the boehner bill came to the floor. that's all history now. the american people want us to move forward. they want us to come up with a bipartisan approach that doesn't have us relive this scene that we've seen for the past week over and over and over again like the old groundhog day movie. we want to get this done in a way so we can say the economy's going to move forward with the certainty that we're going to have a debt ceiling extension and we are not going to jeopardize it with this problem of self-imposed political problems and wounds that can be
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avoided. it's a shame. we waited all day. this morning, senator reid went up to senator mcconnell on the floor and said let's talk, let's work this out. nothing, nothing, all day long, not a word. and later, at the end of the day, a call from senator mcconnell who said i'm not going to negotiate with you. that's unfortunate. the american people deserve better, and let me say one last thing, if senator mcconnell would give us the same vote standard in the senate that was given to speaker boehner in the house, we could pass senator reid's proposal, a proposal which includes major elements suggested by senator mcconnell, but no, they insist on a filibuster. he said 60 votes had become routine, routine because filibusters have become routine on the republican side of the aisle. it isn't what's necessary to enact this law that's so critical to the future of america. we're going to fight this filibuster, and i hope in the end some republicans will cross over and join us and break this
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stalemate and come up with a bipartisan agreement. >> well, thank you, and, you know, this morning at 10:00 a.m. on the floor of the senate, leader reid asked senator mcconnell to come negotiate. the door was open all day, nobody knocked, nobody walked in. and some said well, speaker mcconnell wanted to wait until the house disposed of boehner, but after the boehner amendment was defeated, in a telephone conversation with leader reid, i was sitting there, senator mcconnell still refused to negotiate. we will not solve this problem by standing there and folding our arms and saying i am not talking to anybody. and the nation's future is at risk. republican senators, i've talked to ten today, they want to come to an agreement.
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but until senator mcconnell gives them the green light, nothing is going to happen. and they get the vibes and, perhaps, the direct word, i don't know, from the republican leader, don't do anything. we all know in the senate we can't pass anything with about a bipartisan agreement. we all know the senate is the only way out of this mess. you've seen the huge difficulties in the house, their inability to even tie their own shoes, and so it's up to the senate, and that means it's up to senator mcconnell to either negotiate himself or give permission to others to negotiate so that we can finally come to a bipartisan agreement. the only game in town is the modified reid bill. it's a bill that has elements proposed by republicans and senator mcconnell.
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it's a bill that has elements proposed by democrats, but it meets the strictures that both parties have laid out on our side, that it must extend the debt ceiling beyond 2012, no short-term extension, that too much roils the market. on their side, no revenues, and as many cuts as increases in the debt ceiling. if they don't like it, even though it seems to have been a prescription drawn from their needs, what do they want as an alternative? they are very good at saying no, they are not very good at laying out a plan that can actually pass. and, instead, what do they do, they just filibuster. they say you can't proceed to a bill and vote on it. they say that they are going to force us to delay and delay and
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delay until we get up to the deadline. the country's in crisis. this is not a time for politics as usual. i think we have shown that we are willing to give significantly in their direction. we're still waiting for speaker mcconnell, leader boehner, sorry, we're still waiting for leader boehner and speaker mcconnell to move a little bit in our direction. >> we'll take a few questions, not many tonight. we're all tired, have a long night, going to have a longer night tomorrow. >> reporter: you added in mcconnell's language, your bill, your own bill, enough cuts, two weeks ago he was willing to have his own bill with no cuts guaranteed. wondering if you, you know, if one thing you didn't do is add any triggers. there have been a lot of talk
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of -- significant weight that would force this deficit reduction committee, why did you do that? >> we have had -- we got a closet full of triggers that people have suggested, literally, dozens of them. even though they are good ideas, earlier this week, a few days ago, i was sitting talking to jack lew and rob neighbors, who we all know is such a good person, and we talked for an hour and a half about different triggers. i came to the conclusion we're negotiating with ourselves. we can't get republicans to agree with any trigger that involves revenue of the we cannot, the american people know this because they agree with us, we are not going to have cuts to more programs, more programs and more programs without some revenue. it is -- it is -- that is a line that we've drawn in the sand and we're going to stick with it. i've spoke a couple of times
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with leader pelosi, she agrees with me 100%. >> reporter: so the house passed two plans now and what's -- schumer said this is the only game in town now. what's the contingency plan if this doesn't get through the senate? >> i think senator schumer laid that out pretty clearly. the plan is to work off our bill. we have a message from the house, it's easy to, if there's an agreement that comes up, it's easy to amend that, and we send it back to the house. they only need one vote over there. to think with a straight face, to think with a straight face that they've sent us something that the american people would accept, the ryan budget, cap and cut, whatever that is, and then this thing? that's not legislation. that is -- that was an extravaganza over there that made them all look very foolish. yes? >> reporter: everyone's now wondering, friday night, going
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into the weekend, what is the end game? how is this going to end up? i know you're calling for leader mcconnell to come to the table and negotiate, but what is the way forward from here? >> it's up to the republicans. right now we have a fine proposal, extends the debt ceiling until march of 19 -- 2013, yet reduces the debt by $2.4 trillion. it's a fine piece of legislation, sets up the joint committee to even make further cuts. it would be something that we believe and senator mcconnell will acknowledge this very strongly as does leader pelosi we could get something out of this. we are waiting for them to do something, anything, move toward us, but that fails, they should go for our bill, because it's basically -- that is things they've already voted on, things they agreed to. last question. >> reporter: reduced the debt ceiling increase to $2.4 and
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decreased savings -- use the january baseline, are all of your increase savings due -- >> cbo has come up with those numbers and i've told you all before, we have laid out all of our numbers, you can dissect them, look at them, this is what the cbo has recommended and we've followed their advice. thank you. >> that was the democratic leadership in the senate holding a late night update on the status of the debt ceiling negotiations, and joining us now is msnbc news correspondent luke russert, now, he has been following this drama all day and night. i know, because my television has been tuned and i've been seeing you. luke, first of all, do you think any chance that phone call that interrupted mr. reid could possibly have been mcconnell calling to say he was prepared to negotiate with him? >> what did reid say, must have
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been the pizza guy or something? that was a good joke by him. it sheds light on what's been an interesting development of what we heard from senator schumer today, is harry reid called mitch mcconnell 10:00 a.m. this morning, door is open, ready to negotiate. heard nothing back from mcconnell. about 6:00 p.m. mcconnell told reid at this point he was not going to negotiate with him, so the schedule is as of right now to try and get a cloture vote early sunday morning, actually 1:00 a.m. sunday morning, late, late tomorrow night, if mitch mcconnell does not want to negotiate tomorrow, it looks like harry reid's going to have to find about eight or nine senate republicans to come on board with a deficit reduction package, which would also yield itself to an increase in the debt limit. so there's a long, long way to go on this, and i would also add that the timing, now, becomes
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ever so important, because with the cloture rules and the way in which the parliamentary procedure operates in the senate, 30 hours to cloture, 30 hours after that final vote. you could feasibly see a scenario of whatever compromise comes out of the senate does not get to the house of representativess until tuesday, maybe tuesday evening until that 12:00 a.m. wednesday deadline, and that could have a real affect on the markets in ways which, i think, nobody knows sure. that's why each negotiating tactic, what's the way forward? we have to wait for the republicans to tell us because we don't know right now. that's really what the consequences are. it puts the limit on tuesday, the ultimate end, it makes it that much more important, because there is no back stop. if they miss it, they go into wednesday, thursday, maybe they pass a temporary one, but there's a lot of unanswered
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questions still out there. >> yeah, i'm admittedly just shocked that here it is, late on friday night, and we are still this much in the process. i mean, not even really -- it feels like moving forward towards any kind of reasonable negotiation, and with the deadline tuesday, this is beginning to stress me out and i can imagine the markets are beginning to feel that strain as well. >> absolutely, and what's even more interesting in this whole, if you look at it in a macro level, if you look at what the markets wanted to see from the u.s. in terms of sizable deficit reduction, for it to really make an impact, for it to really try to get the country on the right pathway, if you will, from a financial standpoint, it had to be $3 or $4 trillion in cuts. that's not going to happen because the grand bargain fell apart, now you're arguing about a small number which doesn't necessarily mean a lot on the world stage, if you will, in
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d.c. but this small, minuscule amount in the grand scheme of things has become the line in the sand where both parties want to go all out on and fight this battle to the high heavens, and it could have huge economic effect and even if it were to pass through, no guarantee the government would keep its aaa rating. if you talk to folks close to the leaders and folks around here, they are on the same page, they don't want to deal with this. they want to move on from this. they realize they are playing -- as one republican aide told me, this is a radioactive bomb. we're playing hot potato with a radioactive bomb, but because of a small minority of the republicans, blocking minority, charles krouthammer called them in "the washington post," they have not been able to move forward procedurally.
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procedurally they are still very much where they were weeks ago. >> indeed. msnbc news correspondent luke russert, no rest for the weary just yet. >> no, no. >> joining us now, howard fineman, editorial director of "the huffington post" and msnbc analyst. >> how are you tonight? >> i'm not sure. >> stress out. >> look. i was listening to senator schumer basically calling on maturity, a kind of sense of adulthood, where are the grownups in the room, but particularly when he said listen, we all know that the senate is the only way out of this mess, given how dysfunct n dysfunctional the senate is as of late, should i be concerned the senate is the only way out of this mess? >> that's not reassuring, and having covered the senate for a long time, i can tell you the way they operate sometimes isn't
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reassuring. to go to luke russert's point, it's not just this drama now, what people are looking at is whether our country is suffering some kind of political nervous breakdown, and maybe a sort of permanent inability to deal with the fundamental questions of our economy and our finances and our society. how we deal with entitlements, how we deal with the ageing of the baby boom, how we deal with our tax structure, how we create jobs, these fundamental questions are not being dealt with in this drama. this drama is about avoiding these questions rather than dealing with them, and people looking at the long-term health of the american economy and whether we still have going to keep our aaa bond rating are worried not just about this, but this is a symptom of some deeper problem we've got. >> howard, let me ask you about that, those are reasonable kinds of concerns for a society to
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have and that's a reasonable conversation for a society to have, what kind of place are we, how will we spend our money, but why link that, in this case, to the debt ceiling, which could, after all, be a clean vote. we could make a decision to do the debt ceiling, and we do have, after all, an election coming up. seems an election would be exactly the right time to have this kind of public dialogue about who we are as a country. >> well, a couple of answers to that. first of all, the size of the debt, the national debt, has grown. it really is big right now, almost as large as the whole economy itself and it hasn't been that way since the end of world war ii. people have been increasingly attempted to use the debt ceiling vote as a political weapon. the democrats did that a few years ago. as a matter of fact, barack obama, when he was a senator, not president, voted against an increase in the debt ceiling for political reasons himself. but when the tea party arrived, they use this vote as an excuse for a kind of building takeover.
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i'm of the '60s generation, this feels to me like occupying the administration building, okay? that's who the tea party people are. they want to stop the system with a capital "s." they think they are doing the lord's work, literally, in doing so, and that's the problem john boehner had in dealing with them. he didn't have money to give them, instead of giving them pork, because there are no ear marks, he gave them constitutional pork in the form of this vote on the constitutional amendment to balance the budget. >> right, look, i'm not even against sit-ins in administration buildings on college campuses, i see where they are useful, but part of why they are useful is because students don't have much power relative to their administrations. what i find so surprising here is these are, after all, elected officials, elected to the house of representatives whose main job it is, after all, to spend money. that's what the house of representatives does, it spend
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our money, our budget collectively on our collective goods, so is there something broken either ideologically or structurally? something not working beyond the idea of taking over the administration building? >> there is. and i don't mean to diminish them or building takeovers. the thing is our system has become unable to deal with the deep questions, the fundamental questions. republicans are bedarned if they are going to do anything to raise taxes, and they've managed to control the debate on taxes to a point president obama and the democrats have exceeded the point now for a couple of years on taxes. taxes have been kept at bush-era levels now three years into the obama administration. on the democratic side, they refuse to deal with the long-term consequences of the ageing of the baby boom and what that means for medicare and
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social security and entitlements down the road, and instead we're watching a spectacle where both of these bills would whack away at the defenseless in our society while leaving untouched middle class benefits for the most part, and this is dysfunctional -- it is dysfunctional. the dysfunctional thing is not so much this drama that we're watching as it is the deeper inability to deal with those problems. >> indeed, howard fineman, msnbc political analyst and "the huffington post" director. >> i'll find one, take care. we will be right back. >> ( rooster crows ) >> by 2020, 50 billion network devices will roam the earth. that's seven devices per person. this will change how we work in ways we've never before imagined. what do you need to secure your people, their devices, and your business?
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it is possible to keep cool in a crisis, even in a real country sis. the fight that's happening in washington right now does not need to be happening. it's a crisis created by a debate in congress about whether or not it's wise to destroy the economy, but nearly ten years ago, our nation was facing a real crisis, one created by the attacks of september 11, and three days later, right in the middle of that very real, very emotional crisis, congresswoman barbara lee gave this speech on the floor of the house. >> september 11 changed the world. our deepest fears now haunt us. yet i'm convinced that military
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action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the united states. let's just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control. as a member of the clergy, so eloquently said, as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore. >> joining us now, a cool head in a real crisis, congresswoman barbara lee, democrat of california, congresswoman, thank you so much for being here tonight. >> well, i'm very happy to be with you tonight during this very chaotic time. >> i truly appreciate it. actions today, and i'm thinking
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that's maybe what someone needs to call on us to do right now so what do you think about this current crisis that we've created out of this debt ceiling debate? >> well, i think, first of all, this is drama on the republicans side like i have never seen before, but it's very tragic, because we're on the brink of an economic collapse. people are relying on us to raise the debt ceiling and, quite frankly, melissa, i think we should raise the debt ceiling, look at how we could move forward to create jobs. that's what people want. they are desperate for jobs, and look at how we can move forward to help reduce our deficit, but we have to be sure that we raise this debt ceiling. it's been done under republican and democratic administrations. we should just do it, raise the debt ceiling, move forward, look at how we begin to invest in our people and creating jobs, and
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yes, we have to look at how we bring this deficit under control, but we have to do that in a reasonable way. we have to have it balanced approach, we have to look at raising revenues, and also some cuts that are reasonable. i mean, when you look at the pentagon, certainly, these two wars, they need to end. there are billions of dollars there. we need to look at the bush era tax cuts, millionaires, billionaires, oil companies and federal tax subsidies they are getting. many ways to raise revenues. this debate, this theater, this drama, has gotten out of control. people need jobs, we need to invest in jobs, we need to raise this debt ceiling immediately so that we don't crash, and that's where we're head ted, then we nd to have a rational discussion about debt ceiling. >> i have respected during your career on the hill you've been one of the most forth right
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voices of one of the most vulnerable members of our society. as you see us hurdling towards this cliff on tuesday, is there anything you can imagine as a possibility for moving us forward in a way that doesn't end up harming those who, as you've just said, are the most in need of our support as a country and you in particular as an elected representative. >> sure, we need to raise the debt ceiling. it should be a clean debt ceiling. many of us have said that for many, many months now. i don't think this should have been attached to any part of debt reduction consideration or calculation, but it is what it is, and we have to move forward now and one, protect social security, medicare, and medicare, and two, protect all those safety net programs for people who are the most vulnerable, who are the poor and low income. may be intended or unintended consequences of any of these
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cuts could be more people fall into poverty. now, i have to establish a couple of years ago an out of poverty caucus. we have 39 members of that caucus now, and our focus is to look at these policies and initiatives and legislative efforts and their impact on the poor. poverty is rising in our country, low income people are suffering, they are desperate, and middle income people now falling into the ranks of the poor, so we have to make sure whatever we do in the next few days will not hurt seniors, will not hurt our children, and will not hurt the most vulnerable. that's what i'm most concerned about. all democrats are concerned about. i don't know how this republican tea party -- these republican tea party members believe that their people in their districts aren't suffering. i don't know how they come to grips with the fact they have children and senior citizens and people who need jobs. this is horrible, and i think we need to move forward, quickly raise this debt ceiling, and
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then get back to the drawing board and see how we can create some jobs, reduce the deficit, and move forward to create opportunities for all. the american dream is turning into a nightmare for millions, it's been a nightmare for millions, we have to figure out how to get pathways out of poverty. these efforts we engage in in the next few days have to protect the most vulnerable and must protect our senior citizens and the needy. >> congressman barbara lee, democrat of california, thanks for helping us keep our eye on what's important in the midst of this political theater and thank you for joining us. >> glad to be with you. >> thanks. joe walsh's star is rising in the tea party because he is so very, very concerned about the debt. his own debts, however, not so much. that's just ahead.
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i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. are you familiar with fail blog? it's a blog that's been around for awhile. it documents failure. failure that you can see, that is obvious, that is visual. it's very funny. for example, there's this one labeled "a towel condition fail." don't worry, they are just
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slightly soiled. this one is a cuisine combination fail, chinese-mexican, and my all-time favorite, the cake fail. well, last night, john boehner had a leadership fail. it was a failure you could see. after so much hype and publicity and waiting around and postponing, in the end, speaker boehner was not able to get his own party to back his bill to raise the debt ceiling. everyone knew the bill was going to be dead on arrival in the senate, but they still would not vote for it, and even with the promise that legislation would go nowhere, boehner could not get the house republicans in line behind his leadership and so the vote was delayed until today. that vote that the speaker could make changes that vote could make changes in the bill in order to appease as many of the hold outs as possible. that bill finally passed
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tonight, but as i said, it's dead, as a door nail, a door nail six feet under kicking the bucket. the boehner bill is dead, but our memory of last night is decidedly not, and today, those of us who care about a functioning congress are asking what the heck happened last night? how did things go so terribly wrong for the republicans and the speaker? one theory is it's the tea party fault, the members of the tea party caucus are so concerned with ideological purity that they, as a block, undermined the speaker and held fast against his plan. as david weigle points out tad, that's not exactly true. look at the list of the 60 members, how many of them are firm "no" votes? seven. seven out of 60 does not make for steadfast opposition, so if it's not the players, maybe it's
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the rules of the game, the answer i am proposing was put forth on this show last night by our own luke russert. earmarks. also known by those who don't like them as pork. earmarks were the allotment of funds to specific districts for a specific project that would get attached to spending bills in the house. >> one of the first things the house gop did when they came into power was have an all-out ban on earmarks. i think if you'd speak to them privately tonight, they'd wish they had a earmark capability. they no longer have that. >> they no longer have that ability. granted, so much going on, but still, they really have no ability to horse trade, because when republicans took over the house in the last election, they vowed in a non-bindingly -- non-binding way, i'm sorry, to
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ban earmarks, to ban them altogether. their vilification of earmarks was so effective, they even got president obama on the earmark hating bandwagon. >> we're not going to have earmarks, so it's really silly for some senior republicans in the senate to try to block it. >> the president today made an overture to conservatives back home, backing their call to ban earmarks, special problems many consider wasteful pork. >> sounding like he's been to a tea party, top republican, mitch mcconnell reversed his own position on federal money for earmark pet projects. >> republican senators met last night and agreed to a two-year, non-binding earmark moratorium. they join president obama and speaker john boehner who supports the ban. >> both parties in congress should know this, if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, i will veto it. i will veto it.
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>> now, in the house, being an effective legislator and leader means knowing how to get leverage and how to use it, but when speaker boehner began his leadership tenure by banning forge, he made the extremely uncomfortable bed in which the entire country sleeps tonight. speaker boehner did not have leverage last night, which means he could not get his own caucus to support him, could not bring his own bill to a vote without bringing draconian, extremely right wing leadership to the tag. [ jasmine ] i want to be a pediatrician
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so i want to major in biology. miss gopie is the best teacher i ever had. she's amazing, i love her. [ jade ] i'm teaching jasmine ap biology. i knew she had the talent... i always pushed her. [ jasmine ] her class you literally have to think, like it takes so long to do her homework.
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[ jade ] she's gained the confidence that she can achieve anything. [ jasmine ] i'm going to be a pediatrician... and i'm going to make this dream come true. a 100 percent. ♪
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our government is too big. we have a government that spends too much, and we're bankrupting future generations, and we're not going to change that until we change this town. and we are falling off a financial cliff and unless we finally do something about this debt, we're placing on the backs of our kids and our grandkids, we'll never recover. >> i won't place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money. i'm a freshman, maybe i'm naive, but i don't think unless we force -- unless we force republicans and democrats to
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balance their books every year, they won't. the only way we can do that is to force them. >> people don't want to be financially responsible, you got to force them to do it. that's the message on the debt ceiling debate being preached this week by tea party republican joe walsh. really, congressman walsh should know. that's pretty much how he became a congressman. when joe walsh launched his bid for congress, it was thought that no republican had a chance to win in the illinois 8th district outside chicago, that no one would actually defeat the three-term democratic incumbent melissa bean, let alone a right wing tea party challenger. then this happened. the local newspaper put mr. walsh's personal finances on the front page, and they were a mess. a suburban congressional candidate who stressed the need for restraint, lost a condominium to foreclosure last october, the same month he announced his bid for office. this clearly wasn't how joe
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walsh was planning to run to congress. he didn't exactly volunteer the information we saw, but once out there, he decided to cast himself as the regular joe who is feeling voters' pain, so he said in a statement, "i know all too well what 8th district families are going through to make ends meet because i've experienced difficult and humbling financial times. like so many others in illinois in recent years and one in nine americans nationally, i know what it's like to lose a home to foreclosure." now, being in a tough financial situation personally can give a person empathy and awareness to how bad things are economically for a nation. if you've experienced foreclosure, you've been given a front row seat to what post-2008 economic america looks and feels like. one can see how, for example, the voters would say i want the joe foreclosure guy who knows
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what i'm going through. i want the candidate who can feel my pain. in november, the voters of the illinois 8th congressional district elected joe walsh over the strong democratic incumbent by 300 300 votes. congressman walsh now gets to be the de facto spokesman for tea party republicans preaching fiscal responsibility. joe foreclosure gets to use his tv time to tell all americans, including the president, to put their own financial houses in order. that was the deal. >> i ran as a guy who had financial struggles like a lot of americans. this is where a lot of americans come from right now. it's why they sent so many of us to washington to do something about this because we're living this experience. >> here is what voters didn't know about joe walsh when they heard him talk about his financial struggles. here is what they didn't know when they trusted him to go to washington to make sure their children's financial futures
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would be secure, too. what they didn't know? he had not bothered to fulfill his own obligations to his own children in the most basic way. according to court documents filed in december, joe walsh owes more than $100,000 in back child support to his ex-wife and three children. his lawyer disputes it is anywhere near that amount. walsh says he was attacked to distract from his leading role in the debt debate. walsh calls himself -- and i can't believe i'm about to say this -- the tip of the spear. here is someone who had a commitment to his own children, no matter what the broken-down state with the relationship with his wife. representing yourself as joe foreclosure as one thing.
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but when you're joe deadbeat dad is entirely something else. this debt ceiling battle is about the fact if we don't raise the debt ceiling, america will be unable to meet her financial obligations. joe walsh doesn't believe it will happen. at least not anywhere or on or near tuesday. >> we are so obsessed with august 2nd. i think what's important is that we get this right. the administration has been trying to scare folks into this notion of default. >> you're okay with a potential default on august 2nd? you would let that date pass? >> default is not an option. the administration knows more people in your profession should know that. we've got plenty of government revenues in the month of august to service our debt. default isn't even on the table. i'm not obsessed with august 2nd. truthfully. >> joe walsh is not so obsessed with august 2nd. earlier tonight he was one of 22
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republicans who voted against the republican's own debt ceiling bill. part of the reason joe walsh might think nothing happens when you don't meet your financial obligations is when it comes to child support, it appears he hasn't met those obligations for quite some time. so far nothing has happened. in 2008, when joe walsh stopped paying his mortgage, the bank initiated foreclosure proceedings. if america is going to base its next crucial economic decisions in this debt ceiling battle on the financial consequences personally wrought upon congressman joe walsh, i sincerely hope we will all remember the bank actually did take his home. joining us to talk about this is jonathan capehart. >> great to see you. doing a great job. >> what are the implications of
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a guy who owes nearly a decade of back child support, leading the american as the tip of the spear in the next four days? >> his credibility on this issue is crumbling by the day. the dossier of this guy is leading him into that. to call him the tip of the spear is the height of arrogance. he is leading the charge of raising the debt ceiling, but he is under scrutiny because he put himself out there -- he is screaming for apension. he would love it if the chicago "sun times" which found the court documents, if they focused
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on the foreclosure out there and did something else maybe from his perspective glowing about him. they found over $117,000 in back child support payment. he is going up against some sort of political hit. this isn't the case. >> it's almost too easy to take a shot at this guy as the deadbeat dead who refuses to put burden on kids. part of what concerns me here is this language that default is just a myth. that it's a hoax. this idea that bad things won't really happen. how can we sort of sound the alarm, push back against that idea? >> well, look, this is the problem. we have never been in this
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situation as a nation. we always met our obligations. we are potentially going over the cliff in a way no one has ever seen before. not here in washington, not in america, not in the world. which is why people are in a bit of stunned shock, paralysis, from the markets to world capitals. they cannot possibly believe that the united states would not raise its debt ceiling. no one knows what is going to happen. joe walsh is trying to use that to say it's no big deal. august 2nd, maybe the market doesn't crash. maybe the world doesn't end. it could. a few days after that. >> jonathan capehart, msnbc contributor and opinion written for "the washington post," we do live in interesting times. >> we do. >> thanks for your time. every day, all around the world,
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The Rachel Maddow Show
MSNBC July 29, 2011 9:00pm-9:59pm EDT

News/Business. (2011) New.

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on 9/2/2011